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The End-Goal: Staying Productive Long-Term

April 28, 2021  in 

You may have heard of the 21-day rule that says that if you commit to a personal or professional goal for 21 days in a row, then the pursuit of that goal becomes a habit. After 21 days of doing the same thing with diligence, you should have established a permanent lifestyle change.
 
21-day rule: myth or reality?
 
As I was curious to know whether the 21-day timeframe was a myth or a real thing, my Google search showed me that there was actually no scientific conclusion claiming that a behavior change could occur in 21 days. However, I was glad to find out about its origins: in the 1950’s, the American plastic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz shared the observation that his patients were able to let go of their pre-surgery mental images and accept their new physical appearance after three weeks. From that conclusion, the message that change and new habits happen in 21 days circulated among authors and motivational speakers. Hence, the 21-day rule was born!
 
Whether it does work or not, I believe that there is something to learn from it. That is the combination of three fundamental elements that helps form a new habit: repetition, commitment, and interest. In other words – and I am using a personal example in the purpose of illustrating this point – if I want to make the practice of yoga a daily routine, I’ll need to:
 
🔁 Practice everyday ( = Repetition)
🎯 With focus and diligence (= Commitment)
💙 While feeling joy and pleasure (= Interest)
 
And the same goes with professional habits! We all want to be productive, we all want to find that routine that lasts, that keeps providing results and that keeps us motivated.
 
Find your own productivity system…
 
When it comes to work and productivity habits, it looks like there are as many recommendations, tips and tools out there as there are people on this planet. So, how to get your head around it?
First, I’d say find a system that fits your type of work and that is adaptable enough so it takes into account exceptions and last minute changes. No one wants to feel stuck and trapped into a routine – flexibility and adjustment are essential.
 
Secondly, my advice to you is to adopt a system that keeps your motivation and mental focus high. Let’s be honest: no human brain can remain focused and productive eight hours straight. Getting into your work routine should be done by compartimenting your tasks and allocating reasonable time against each of them, while considering mini-breaks and breathing space in between. Basically, you want to feel productive and not have the constant pressure of not accomplishing enough, quickly enough.
 
Last but not least, be best friend with your productivity system: if you know you’re best at producing content in the morning and in a better shape for email replies in the afternoon, organize your time smartly and accordingly around that; or if you decide to use a productivity tool, make yourself familiar with it: try it out, explore the features, and give it enough time to make it part of your routine. No need to strictly apply the 21-rule here, but it’s probably in your interest to test it for a couple of weeks, before figuring out if it deserves to be part of your routine and if it will serve your productivity moving forward.
 
No surprise here! If you have read one of our previous posts, or if you are a KosmoTime user, you already know that time blocking (also known as calendar blocking or timeboxing) is the system that we believe in and live by.
 
…that works long-term!
 
A couple of years ago, Nicolas Vandenberghe, CEO and co-founder of KosmoTime and Chili Piper came to this realisation: no existing tool was ever able to help him handle the hundreds of tasks he had to complete each week. Just as many other busy professionals, he is constantly bombarded with emails, notifications, phone calls, and he simply could not find the time to actually do his work. Tasks kept accumulating, deadlines getting shorter, and to-do-list more stressful than useful.
 
That’s why Nicolas and his co-founder Martin developed KosmoTime: it was time to build the long-term productivity solution, the one that was going to fit into a routine and take into consideration the reality of a busy schedule. Together, they’ve thought of how to transform a passive behaviour (= writing a to-do list) into an active one (= accomplish a task from that list by blocking time for it).
 
After months of use and optimisation, KosmoTime has proven to be the most effective system for long-term productivity. By using the calendar as the main place to store tasks, our users and ourselves feel like we’re not adding yet another product into our work routine. The calendar is probably the first tool that gets opened when one starts their day, as it is where all the work to do (tasks, reminders, events) is displayed.
 
If you haven’t tried it yourself yet but are curious, here is a snippet of what the merge of a calendar and to-do list looks like:

I love how my personal and professional tasks and events appear in one same place, and how I purposely allocate time for specific tasks. There is no “I forgot” or “I don’t have time” excuse anymore, now that I’ve made my schedule transparent and realistic. I have personally chosen to connect the KosmoTime app to my Google calendar, so I get to see the same schedule in both places, which is pretty handy!
 
If you too have been either overwhelmed or disappointed by the to-do list system, if you’ve heard of the power of the time blocking strategy before, without having a chance to try it, or if you want to get into long-term productivity, then I highly encourage you to sign up with KosmoTime (it’s free!).
 
As always, we’re looking forward to hearing from you: any feedback, recommendations, appreciations, please spread the word, and share it with us!